NextPage Calls Underground Home
Affordability, expansion and climate are keys to success
NextPage (formerly Mail Print) — founded in 1988 — is a commercial printing and direct mail company that serves as a one-stop shop for creative development, graphic design, traditional offset print production, data mining, variable data digital printing, and mail preparation. The company has customers all across the United States.
NextPage’s first seven years were spent in an above ground facility in Liberty, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City. The principals felt the need to find a more affordable facility closer to downtown Kansas City for overall convenience. The drive from northern Kansas City to Liberty was 25 minutes alone. To warrant the move, the new facility would have to meet key requirements: affordability, ability for expansion and climate control. After looking at a variety of spaces in the North Kansas City area, nothing was fitting their specifications.
“We were all aware of SubTropolis since we grew up in the area,” Gina Danner, CEO, said. “We were adverse to even the concept of going to look at an underground space for our business, but our broker convinced us to at least look.” Danner and her business partners went to look at the space, and it was the right fit for their company. “It was perfect,” Danner said. “There was no one around us, so we could expand. Moving a printing company would probably cost us $250,000 to $300,000 because of all the equipment. Now we can just say, ‘We need another 10,000 square feet with our leasing agreement.’ It’s ideal.”
SubTropolis met all the criteria for the move. Affordability – NextPage went from a 7,500 square foot above ground facility to 20,000 square feet in SubTropolis, and the utility costs went down.
“We have no need for heat,” Danner says. “I don’t have to worry about paying for electricity for the equipment in the winter and then gas on top of that.”
Hunt Midwest handled the leasehold improvements for NextPage, rolling it into the cost of the lease and making it affordable for the small business. Special doorways were installed for moving in its large equipment and 12 concrete slabs were poured for some of the presses to sit on. “I have to say, they make it easy to pay rent. Management is great because if we need something fixed, they are over here, and they are familiar with the facility.” Ability for Expansion – Beginning with 20,000 square feet, in 2003, NextPage added another 8,000, and it was ready for use within six weeks. The extra bonus with an underground facility is the ability to expand on one level, especially with light manufacturing. Climate Control – By changing the temperature a few degrees, humidity is removed from the air. In an above ground facility, NextPage would have to lower the temperature 20 to 30 degrees to remove a lot of the humidity, and at that, many printers still cannot dry blue ink in the summertime due to humidity levels. Climate control also ties into affordability. Due solely to the nature of the printing business, NextPage has two small air-conditioning units and an air filtration system. If the company was in a surface building instead, NextPage would have had to pay upwards of $80,000 in equipment for air conditioning. So climate control definitely ties into affordability.
In addition to meeting their outlined requirements, security has become an added perk. “The security guys are great here and always patrolling,” Danner said. “If anything looks off kilter, they will come in and check it out.” After moving to the facility, Danner says that the employees forgot to lock the doors. “Security saw that the door was open and called me in the middle of the night, saying nothing looked amiss. It’s great, and you feel especially safe here as a woman walking to your car. You know that people off the street aren’t going to be wandering through the facility.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
“We’ve been growing year after year — 15 to 40 percent — since we’ve been underground,” Danner said. “Being here allows us to focus on our business and not have to worry about running out of parking spaces, getting the grass mowed or how to wash our windows. The Hunt Midwest team has been great to work with. They are all about keeping you here and helping you move your business forward.”